Effect of oxidative stress on avian erythrocytes

Shaher El-Mekawi, Reuven Yagil, Naomi Meyerstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Avian erythrocytes differ from mammalian erythrocytes in being nucleated and oval. In the circulation, chicken cells survive for only 35 days, compared to 120 days for human cells. In humans, red cell oxidation processes, involving methemoglobin formation, have been correlated with cellular aging. This study compared oxidative resistance of two avian red cells (chicken and ostrich) to that of discoid enucleated human cells. Reduced glutathione levels (GSH) and methemoglobin were higher in chicken and ostrich cells than in human cells. SOD levels were higher in human cells. Diamide exposure diminished intracellular GSH levels in all species, with the greatest effect on human cells. Regeneration potential was high for all cells. Ostrich cells were more sensitive to hydrogen peroxide when hemoglobin oxidation was involved; BHP exposure affected GSH depletion and methemoglobin production in ostrich cells more than in the others. Lipid peroxidation was found to be highest in the human cells. Chickcn cells were only slightly more resistant than human cells. Our data suggest that the extensive, complex oxidation by BHP cannot represent in vivo aging processes. In addition, the milder, selective oxidation by diamide affects human cells (endowed with long life span) more than avian cells. It is concluded that in vitro oxidation by diamide and BHP cannot be correlated with red cell survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-212
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • avian erythrocytes
  • life span
  • ostrich
  • oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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